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Final Communique

Volume 931: debated on Thursday 12 May 1977

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1. The North Atlantic Council met in London on 10th and 11th May 1977, with the participation of Heads of State and Government.

2. The essential purpose of the Alliance is to safeguard the independence and security of its members, enabling them to promote the values of democracy and respect for human rights, individual freedom, justice and social progress, and to make possible the creation of a lasting structure of peace. The Allies are firmly resolved to maintain and enhance the effectiveness of the Alliance and the ties which unite them.

3. Although there have been some improvements in East-West relations in recent years, elements of instability and uncertainty persist. Of particular concern is the continuing growth in the strength of offensive capabilities of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact countries. In these circumstances, the Allies emphasise the need for the Alliance to maintain at an adequate level the forces required for the common defence and for deterrence. They are resolved to strengthen their mutual support efforts and co-operation.

4. The Allies are determined to co-operate closely in all aspects of defence production. Their aims are to achieve the most effective use of available resources and to preserve and promote the strong industrial and technological capability which is essential for the defence of the Alliance and to develop a more balanced relationship between European and North American members of the Alliance in the procurement of defence equipment. The means of deepening this co-operation should be reviewed in appropriate fora.

5. Leaders of states taking part in the integrated defence structure of the Alliance requested their Defence Ministers to initiate and develop a long-term programme to enable NATO forces to meet the changing defence needs of the 1980s and to review the manner in which the Alliance implements its defence programmes to ensure more effective follow-through.

6. At the same time, the Allies reaffirm their conviction that security in Europe and in the world, without which detente could not produce its beneficial effects, cannot be achieved by statements of intent, but requires concrete efforts to reduce the level of armaments through realistic measures of disarmament and arms control. They will continue to move towards this goal in a manner consistent with Allied security, while recognising that progress also depends on a constructive attitude on the part of the Soviet Union and East European states.

7. The Allies warmly welcome the effects of the United States to negotiate with the Soviet Union an agreement to limit and reduce strategic arms which takes into account Allied interests.

8. With respect to MBFR, the participating Allies emphasise the importance they attach to these negotiations, the goal of which is to contribute to a more stable relationship and to the strengthening of peace and security in Europe. They call for a positive response to the additional offer they made to the Warsaw Pact countries in December 1975, and reaffirm their overall objective of establishing approximate parity in ground forces in the form of a common collective ceiling for ground force manpower and the reduction of the disparity in tanks, which would ensure undiminished security at a lower level of forces.

9. The collective security ensured by the Alliance, in addition to enhancing global stability, provides the strength and confidence that enable the member countries to persevere in their efforts to lessen the tensions between East and West and to increase progressively the areas of co-operation. In this connection, the Allied leaders requested the Council in Permanent Session to make a fresh study of long-term trends in East-West relations and to assess their implications for the Alliance. Improvement in East-West relations will depend on the extent to which all concerned show moderation and self-restraint both in Europe and in other parts of the world. With regard to Berlin and Germany as a whole, the other Allies fully associated themselves with the views expressed by the Heads of State and Government of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany in their statement of 9th May 1977, and noted in particular that the strict observance and full implementation of the Quadri partite Agreement of 3rd September 1971 are essential to the strengthening of détente, the maintenance of security and the development of co-operation throughout Europe.

10. The Allies stress the great importance they attach to the implementation by the CSCE Signatory States of all the provisions of the Helsinki Final Act. There has been limited progress in certain fields. While welcoming this, the Allies emphasise that much still remain to be done if the potential of the Final Act is to be realised both in terms of inter-state relations and in the lives of the inhabitants of all the countries concerned. The forthcoming Belgrade meeting will provide a useful opportunity for a thorough review of the implementation of the Final Act, and for an exchange of views on ways of developing the process of détente in the future. At that meeting the Allies will work for a constructive outcome which will promote better relations between the participating states and be beneficial to all their peoples.

11. The Allies recognise as wholly legitimate the aspirations of people throughout the world to human rights and fundamental freedoms. They are convinced that respect for these rights and freedoms, in accordance with the commitments accepted by governments in the Charter of the United Nations and in other international documents including the Helsinki Final Act, is essential for peace, friendship and cooperation among nations.

12. The Allied leaders reaffirm their support for an equitable world system in which all countries, developing as well as developed, will see their best interests served and which can sustain the economic progress of all. They intend to mobilize their efforts towards the attainment of that objective, in the appropriate form. They invite the Warsaw Pact countries to do the same.

13. Recognising the vitality and vigour shown by the Alliance over the years, the Allied leaders reaffirm their determination to maintain and strengthen their close association and cohesion within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty. On that firm foundation they will persevere in the task of building a more just and peaceful world.